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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 18th, 2010, 09:01 AM   #16
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Actually, Noel, that's not how we present our packages. Our packages are based on the products delivered (feature, highlights, docs, etc.).

To answer an earlier question, you definitely should have set hours. We have a one package system now, but even when we had 3 packages all of them had the same limit on hours. Unlimited hours is one of the best ways to make more work for yourself without getting paid for it.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #17
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We still have an hourly limit on our packages, though I would like to go to a full day coverage model for all our packages eventually. Right now our top package offers "full day coverage" starting 2 hours prior to the ceremony and concluding with the last main event of the reception. While this can be a 5 hour shooting day or 12 hour shooting day, it at least puts a limit on the time so that we don't start at 6:00am and end the next morning at 1:00am (most couples and guests don't have the stamina to party for that long). One thing we tried to do in each of our packages is add different incentives (besides hours) to entice people upwards. We get many booking our top package even though they only need 6-8 hours because of the other incentives that we offer and we get many booking our top package because of the hours alone (even though they view the added incentives as unnecessary) Either way, we end up booking our top package more than any other.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 01:06 PM   #18
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Johannes Soetandi:
I am sure there will always be certain brides who will take advantage of things, so I think the key is to get a rough timeline BEFORE you sign the contract so that you both know whats up. I am willing to take my chances on the "all day coverage" plan because I really only do western weddings. Like I mentioned 8-10 hours is ok, and I dont mind staying 30 minutes extra if I can get something awesome and make them really happy I did.

Chris Talawe:
My experience is that any decent wedding and venue make sure you get fed..they know you are there all day and working there if you act and dress professionally.

Chris Harding:
I am right with you buddy....if there is something extra and you know its going to be longer, I am simply going to mention that all day coverage is getting ready, ceremony, and reception, anything else is extra, OR if its over 10 hours then its X amount per hour.

Noel Lising
Good point about having just one package and adding the extra.......Question for everyone, would you sell more packages if you have multiple packages? I only want one, the $1495, because that way its just me and my cameras, I don't really need someone else unless its a large wedding anyways.

Travis Cossel
What do you think of doing "all day coverage" (which would include the getting ready, ceremony, photos, and reception) and then have a statement about its a maximum of 10 hours or something like that? And whats the best set of hours? Typical for me is 7 or 8 hours. But then the big ones are 10 or 11 or so.

Michael Horn
I like the way you do it with starting 2 hours before the ceremony.....that way if its extra early or something you can add that on the package. Thats a really good idea.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 01:07 PM   #19
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Full Day Coverage = 24 hours. No way am I putting "Full Day Coverage" in my contract. 10 hours is enough and I don't usually charge overtime if it's 11 or 12. But I have to protect myself from the bride who would want me for 24 hours.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 01:16 PM   #20
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Michael Simons
Please read the postings before making a comment. There is nothing about working 24 hours. Only what that means and how to protect yourself from working more then 10 hours.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 02:24 PM   #21
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Don't work for free... that's the quickest way to get burnt out on videography.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #22
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Please be sure to read the comments before stating anything that has nothing to with what we are talking about. No one mentioned working for free. "Full day Coverage" means a getting ready, ceremony, and reception. NOT 24 hours of work. It also means pricing accordingly. Read the posts everyone before making a comment.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #23
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Chris has kindly referred to our single price, comprehensive package, details of which are on our website so I won't bore readers with a repetition. It works for us although we are about to change to an even more comprehensive service - more news shortly.

But it's obvious we work in differing market environments and my model wouldn't suit say Santo's market. What I do think is that whatever model you use, you present your offering to your clients in language they understand. Use the current "universal" buzz terms if you must (HD etc) but don't bother promoting a second camera or radio microphone package without explaining what the benefits will be to the product and to the client in terms they'll understand and be able to evaluate.

I always recall when I was at boarding school and bought my first guitar (6 in Shaftesbury Avenue, London and it still smelled of oranges!) I was puzzled when the old lady who ran the Tuck Shop across the road assumed that because it was an electric guitar it played itself.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 07:41 PM   #24
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"What I do think is that whatever model you use, you present your offering to your clients in language they understand."

This is exactly what my goal is in changing my package to one that is based on capturing the getting ready, ceremony, and reception of western weddings. Great thoughts
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Old November 19th, 2010, 01:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
I can see that you are one of those who expects a free meal:-) There was a recent discussion on this subject with diverse views Meals at wedding, do you get fed?
ouch. i was actually not trying to make it seem that i'm out to get a free meal. i actually don't eat meals in the weddings i've done since i don't want to miss anything. i just wanted to state that out since i had to deal with it one time and the b&g needed that info to rely out to her wedding venue. its just common courtesy. someone said it here that it definitely gets nailed down during the sit-down with the b&g.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 07:55 AM   #26
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I had a conversation with Alex Hill from Elysium Productions on pricing structure as well as hours of coverage and he brought up a good point.

If you don't have your business pricing nailed down to a common sense business model, meaning you're pricing to run a business that will last and sustain itself with sensible reasoning in regards to pricing, you're just making up numbers to charge your client.

That's paraphrased but hope you catch the drift.

It made me assess all my pricing and the work + hours I put into my packages so that if I was ever asked why I charge what I do by a business minded b&g, I wouldn't look silly. I sat down and calculated how much I need to cover expenses (people, gear wear and tear, etc.) as well as how much profit I want my business to make with each job (because we are running business right?), figured out how much post work was needed based on my previous experiences and then I arrived at my new pricing structure. It's shocking to see how underpriced you can find yourself if you start throwing in all kinds of services for little or no cost. I still provide great value for my couples and clients but I am compensated fairly for it.

Bruce Patterson also encouraged me to move away from the "multiple package" model and I moved into the single package with add ons model like Travis mentioned as it gives the couple power to choose but keeps me from doing work that I'm not being paid for. I start at a certain amount of hours and each hour after that is ala carte. It's priced to where I can account for the extra hours by justifying the extra post work and labor needed so clients won't pull the "you're already here, what's an extra hour or two for you to shoot?". That extra hour, per cam and per person, does add up in costs that I should not have to absorb due to scheduling. If it's like 15 minutes, I don't push the issue as I am within reason.

Providing a no set time limit does set yourself up for some issues. For a quick example, what if you had a wedding that started early at 6AM and was done by 2PM and another on the same day that started at 3PM and ended at 11PM? It's a bit of a stretch (and mind you I'm saying it's not 100% possible but it could happen) but you could shoot yourself in the foot should you ever have opportunities like that where you could do a double in one day. I'm not one to do back to back weddings though :).

All in all, if you feel your business can benefit financially from providing an all day package, go for it. But do yourself a favor and look at the actual business costs.

Cheers.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 06:20 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Silas Barker View Post
Travis Cossel
What do you think of doing "all day coverage" (which would include the getting ready, ceremony, photos, and reception) and then have a statement about its a maximum of 10 hours or something like that? And whats the best set of hours? Typical for me is 7 or 8 hours. But then the big ones are 10 or 11 or so.
As others mentioned, if you're going to have a limit on your hours I wouldn't use the term "all day coverage". You can clarify all you want in the contract, but if a couple gets the wrong impression from your marketing (and trust me, they will) then you're just going to end up with an unhappy couple at some point. You have to realize that couples will not pay attention to the details half of the time. They will hear the words 'all day' and then shut down their ears to what follows.

We use the term "full wedding story coverage", and the moment we mouth those words to a couple we clarify that it includes up to 10 hours of coverage. We talk about our coverage in terms of capturing their story, and not in terms of the 'day'. Obviously it is also clarified in our contract as well.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 06:42 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Silas Barker View Post
Please be sure to read the comments before stating anything that has nothing to with what we are talking about. No one mentioned working for free. "Full day Coverage" means a getting ready, ceremony, and reception. NOT 24 hours of work. It also means pricing accordingly. Read the posts everyone before making a comment.
Silas, "Full Day Coverage" can mean "Whenever I want you to start and whenever I want you to finish". Some brides start getting ready at 8am and the wedding is over at 11pm. Stating "Full Day Coverage" leaves you open to starting at 8am.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 04:09 PM   #29
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Andrew is right. If you offer unlimited and an Indian wedding comes a long you'll be sorry.

And if you say "unlimited" and then you come back with well it's a 10 hour limit and extra for each hour after that then Silas you'll make a lot of brides mad.

My site tells them "Up to 10 hours of coverage" for all 3 of my packages. I don't do 6, 8, 10, 12 hour weddings. I do up to 10 and they pay the same if it's 8 hours or 10hours. It has worked out so much better.

I also offered unlimited but that back fired on me as well. All the photographers I meet have set there packages up by "hours". The brides are use to it and I don't think it's confusing to them about what will be covered as long as you have a good talk with them.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #30
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Who came up with the package idea anyway :D

I can somwhat relate.. when I call a plumber I want this sink to go there, that tube moved there etc, and want a price to say yes or no to.

But people have read so much about 'packages', that they ask about 'packages'. I mostly do other stuff to cover the bills, so I didn't givce much thought to it, I have 'cermony only' package' and 'wedding day' package. No matter what I put in, talk, explain, put in contract or either, people wants a) discounts, b) tweakings c) ask for a lot more when the day is done (can you make a 2 hour video instead of the 1, can you make 2 DVD's to put in much more stuff, yes, we agreed to 50 photos for the picture montage, here you have 150, I know we said you could select any photo we supplied for the cover, bu can you reprint and ship a new set of 10 discs because the one you selected was actualy one we did not want..)

The customers are people who, just like you and me, wants a good deal, have no clue how much time is involved in making wedding DVD's and are generaly nice people. If you argue and nag to much about prices, hours etc, they will be alienated.

So, bottom line. I did try to raise the prices - just like insurance, to cover up for those weddings that eats up time (but then everyone turned in the doorway when presented with them), or suck it up and do what you can to make decent end products at a fairly reasonable rate.

But I do agree, it is a difference between a 30 min cermony and 30 min 'best of speeches and dances', and a 80 minute wedding followed by a 6 hr party with mostly speeches, acts, songs, scetches, slideshows, and the customers 'want it all, with nothing cut'.
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